That’s right, 1980! Here are some of the top news events of that great year:
1. February 13– The 1980 Winter Olympics open in Lake Placid, New York. The biggest excitement was built around the US Men’s Ice Hockey Team on February 22. Here is what Wikipedia says about this-
The most notable highlight of the Games involved the United States men’s ice hockey team. The team comprised mostly of collegiate players and was not predicted to advance beyond group play. They won the gold medal, defeating the heavily favored Soviet team and Finland in the medal round. The United States team’s 4–3 win over the Soviet team, which came into the 1980 Games having won 4 consecutive Olympic gold medals, became known as the “Miracle on Ice” in the US press. The win captured the hearts of Americans during a time of Cold War tensions, even though it was the win against Finland that captured the gold medal. A film about the event, called Miracle, was released in 2004.
2. March 1– Voyager 1 probe confirms the existence of Janus, a moon of Saturn. (essortment.com)
Janus was discovered by its first observer Audouin Dollfus on December 15, 1966. This body was given a different name to suffice until it was studied a little bit more. Jean Texereau had photographed Janus in October of 1966 without realizing that it was a moon of Saturn. It took twelve years to realize that the discovery made in 1966 was in fact Janus. Along with the discovery of Janus came the discovery of Epimetheus as they share the same orbit around Saturn. Soon many people were observing Janus without knowing exactly what they were seeing. It took until March 1, 1980 to confirm the existence of Janus using the Voyager 1 probe. Since it took so long to actually confirm this moon’s existence, all the observers’ too rightful credit for its discovery.
3. March 21- President Jimmy Carter announces that the US will boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Wikipedia says this about the boycott-
The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spurred Jimmy Carter to issue an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 that the United States would boycott the Moscow Olympics if Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan within one month.
The succeeding 1984 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, United States saw another boycott, this time led by the Soviet Union. On May 8, 1984, the Soviet Union issued a statement that the country would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles due to “chauvinistic sentiments and an anti-Soviet hysteria being whipped up in the United States.” Thirteen Soviet allies joined the boycott, giving a total of fourteen nations that boycotted the Olympics. Iran was the only country that did not participate in either Moscow or Los Angeles.
4. April 7- “The US severs diplomatic relations with Iran and imposes economic sanctions, following the taking of American hostages on November 4, 1979.” Also, on April 24-25- “Operation Eagle Claw, a commando mission in Iran to rescue American embassy hostages, is aborted after mechanical problems ground the rescue helicopters. Eight United States troops are killed in a mid-air collision during the failed operation.” (Wikipedia)
AP History explains the reason for the hostage situation-
Nov. 4th, 1979 was a very dark time in its history for America. 53 of its sons and daughters were taken hostage by the Iranians. These 53 American students were caught up in the whirlwind of the Iranian Revolution. They were taken hostage to show Iran’s disapproval of an American presence in the country. The hostages were held captive for over a year, 444 days to be exact. They were released on Jan. 20th, 1981.
5. May 18- Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington State.
At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, the mountain erupted. It began when an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale triggered a massive landslide, shearing away the mountain’s north side. The landslide caused the volcano to depressurize and explode with a force “equal in power to 500 atom bombs,” the Mount St. Helens Institute explains. Ash shot into the sky and pieces of the mountain blasted sideways, destroying everything in its path.
The ash and rock reached more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit and traveled at 300 mph, devastating 230 square miles and permanently transforming the area’s landscape, according to the USGS.
The Mount St. Helens Institute reports that the ash blew more than 12 miles into the air and circled the globe within 17 days. The eruption killed 57 people and caused more than $3 billion in damage. (Finding Dulcinea, Librarian of the Internet)
6. May 22– Pac-Man is released.
7. August 10 – Hurricane Allen (category 3) comes to southeastern Texas.
the first and strongest hurricane of the 1980 Atlantic hurricane season. It was one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded history, one of the few hurricanes to reach Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale on three separate occasions, and spent more time as a Category 5 than any other Atlantic hurricane. Allen is the second of only two hurricanes in the recorded history of the Atlantic basin to achieve sustained winds of , after Hurricane Camille in 1969.
Throughout its life, Allen moved through the deep tropics on a west-northwesterly course through the tropical Atlantic ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico before making landfall near the United States/Mexico border. At peak strength, it passed near Haiti, causing hundreds of deaths and heavy damage. After crossing the Gulf of Mexico, Allen weakened as it struck the lower Texas coast, causing high winds, a significant storm surge, and heavy rainfall which caused damage to southern Texas. Overall, Allen killed 290 people and left just over $1.5 billion in damage (1980 USD), mostly within the United States and Haiti. (Wikipedia)
8. November 4– US presidential election, 1980: Republican challenger and former Governor Ronald Reagan of California defeats incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter.
9. December 8– John Lennon is murdered in New York City.
John Lennon was an English musician who gained worldwide fame as one of the founders of The Beatles, for his subsequent solo career, and for his political activism and pacifism. He was shot by Mark David Chapman at the entrance of the building where he lived, The Dakota, in New York City, on Monday, 8 December 1980; Lennon had just returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono…The first report of his death to a national audience was announced by Howard Cosell, on ABC’s Monday Night Football. (Wikipedia)
10. March 31, 1981- 1980 Oscars a.k.a. 53rd Annual Academy Awards-
Best Picture- Ordinary People, Ronald L. Schwary, producer (Paramount)
Actor in a Leading Role- Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
Actress in a Leading Role- Sissy Spacek, Coal Miner’s Daughter
Actor in a Supporting Role- Timothy Hutton, Ordinary People
Actress in a Supporting Role- Mary Steenburgen, Melvin and Howard
Directing- Robert Redford, Ordinary People.
They may have had to wait a few months and in the year 1981 to find out the results, but you can’t leave the Oscars out!
I hope you have enjoyed this historical look back into the year 1980. Sometimes it is hard to believe it has been that long ago. I remember these events like they were yesterday. Ah, what we will say about 2011 in 31 years from now…
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